January 23, 2023

Hedging our Bets with God

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My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

It starts with disappointment. You prayed as a kid, for a sick pet to get well and…it didn’t. When the circumstances God allows aren’t what we’ve wanted, we hedge our bets the next time.

Before an angel announced to Mary that Jesus would be born to her, an angel told a couple of senior citizens that they were going to have a child. The Bible says the childless couple was “very old,” but the angel told the man, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will have a son, and you are to name him John. You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord” (Luke 1:13b-15a).

Zechariah took one look at his sagging self and asked, “How can I be sure this will happen?” (v.18a) But scripture says that Zechariah and Elizabeth were “righteous in God’s eyes” (Luke 1:6). They knew what God could do, but they’d asked… and asked, before.

Dr. Phillip Aijian writes, “It’s not doubt. It’s old fear disguised by the request for evidence in a hope to fend off disappointment. Zechariah is a man who respects the power of sorrow and attempts to manage it—as we all do—by hedging his bets and asking for assurances.”[1]

But our fear can’t stop God’s appointed blessings in our lives—nine months later, that baby named John was born and Zechariah and Elizabeth praised God! God’s ways are beyond ours (Isaiah 55:8-9), always for our deepest good and they can be trusted.

[1] Aijian, Phillip. “My Gift to Christ.” Biola University Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts, 28 Dec. 2022, https://ccca.biola.edu/advent/2022/#day-dec-28.